Wednesday, April 3, 2013

If You Like Cows...

My Girl "Red" And Her First Calf
People often say that you can tell a lot about someone by what kinds of animals they like.  Dog lovers are often thought of as friendly and loyal, cat lovers portrayed as cold and selfish, reptile enthusiasts as odd and...scaly?!??  Ha, I don't know whether any of that holds true...but I do know that I like cows!  

Having A Nice Scratch!
We have had a lot going on with our cows lately.  Buying our own bull last year, really is paying dividends this year.  Having a bull within the herd, ensures much more success with breeding and is also much more cost effective.  As we are in our calving season at the moment, our bull is being contained within our walled garden (two acres) with a female companion.  My husband felt that this was the wisest and safest place to keep him whilst the new calves were being born. 

One Of Our Oldest Girls; She Gave Birth Just Days Later

On St. Patrick's Day we were thrilled to welcome two calves (one male, and one female) onto our farm!  One birthed easily (as most other births we have) and the other needed a small bit of assistance from my husband.  We named them "Paddy" and "Shamrock".

It is not uncommon for our pregnant cows to go a week or so over their due date, so during those times my husband often wakes in the early hours to go check on the girls.  Last weekend was one of those times; he woke early Sunday morning to go and check on them, but soon came back to bed saying that nothing was going on (save a little slime, which can go on for days proceeding birth).  We went to church as usual, once we were back and had eaten, my husband went back out to check.  He was looking at one of the cows who was waiting to calf, and saw her lowing gently toward to hedges, and sure enough when he went to check a little calf was nestled in there!  He rang home to tell us straight away.  As he went on with his chores he noticed the other expectant cow also acting oddly; this time she was standing right beside the hedges.  When he went over he found another calf had been born!  They had both calved whilst we were at church!  The kids and I were eating dinner at this stage and were delighted to receive yet another telephone call, letting us know the lovely news.

This weeks exciting news, is that we have begun to milk one of our cows!  I am so delighted!  Raw milk is almost impossible to buy here in Ireland, and even if you managed to source some, it would almost always be non-organic.  While Ireland is labelled as a "GM free" country, the government does allow GM food trials and GM foods are freely imported.  That is a whole other post, in and of itself!  EU rules state that GM animals feeds do not need to be labelled, this means that the majority of Irish meat and dairy, has been sourced from an animal that has been fed a diet of GM corn/soy meal, in addition to its usual diet of grass/hay/silage. 

So back to milking...  My husband and Amy have been the ones who have done the milking so far, and they have been triumphantly bringing a lot of milk back for us to use!  Even though we have left the calf with the cow 24/7 at this stage, and only milk once per day, we have been getting on average 4-5 litres of good, fresh, raw milk!  Amy plans on buying a brush within the next week, so that she and Dylan can treat our cow to a nice daily brushing in exchange for her yummy milk!  Even though farm life can be challenging at times, I am so thankful that God has placed us here.


1 comment:

Nora L said...

That is soo great Sarah
We would love a little farm like yours and to have our own cow to milk too.
you are all very blessed.